Icelandic Natural Monument: Kattarauga (Cat’s Eye)

Folklore is engrained in the Icelandic culture, whether people believe or not.  Stories are told and passed down through the generations as learning lessons.  Also there is a sense of pride and nostalgia that follows.  The stories explain names, places, why you should or should not do something, and moments in history.  Meanwhile if you’re traveling up to North Iceland, Kattarauga should be on your agenda!  Especially if you’re a history buff, nature or cat lover.

What is Kattarauga?

Kattarauga directly translates to “Cat’s Eye.”  But what is it?  Well it is a tiny little pond that was deemed an Icelandic Natural Monument in 1975.  Why?  Because it is extremely deep, has floating islands within, and sparkles from above when still and clear weather in Iceland.  Also, spring water constantly flows through from below creating a marshy wetland area.

Locals boast different folklore stories surrounding it.  First, some say it tells the story of how cats have nine lives.  Second, others state it is a learning lesson to seek caution near bodies of water.  Third, a few assert the pond is enchanted and will draw you in to steal you / your soul.  Fourth, the actual dynamic you see is that the spring water source often glistens which to some looks like a “cat’s eye.”  You decide what you wish to see and believe once you lay your eyes on Kattarauga!

How to Find Cat’s Eye

Is your curiosity piqued and you’d like to visit Cat’s Eye?  Traveling to Kattarauga is easy and a small detour from Route 1.  To illustrate, if you’re coming from downtown Reykjavík on your way to Akureyri you can expect your travel time to be 3 hours and 10 minutes.  Furthermore, if you’re coming from Akureyri (or the famed Forest Lagoon) it is a 2 hour and 10 minute drive.  So it is a perfect get out and stretch your legs point!

Next, from the main road (Route 1) it is a 12.2km (7.5 miles) detour.  Therefore, from either direction (North or South) you’ll want to take Road #722 which is called, Vatsndalsvegur.  Please be aware that if coming from the South, it is the FIRST one titled this.  And if you’re coming from the North heading South, it is the SECOND one titled this.  If you do not heed this warning, likely end up on the wrong side of the valley.  Further, feel free to use this Google Map Link to get yourself there.

Additionally, once you take #722 it will be bumpy, take it slow.  Then once you arrive to the end point, you’ll find a small pull off parking spot where 2-3 cars can park (see photos below for ease of referencing).  Next, open and close the gate to experience this natural wonder in Iceland!  Enjoy, only take photos / memories, and leave no trace behind you.  Note: This area is best visited on a still and clear day so you can witness the sparkle!

Unique Places in Iceland

When planning your travels to Iceland, many try to seek out more offbeat or sometimes even romantic locations.  And Kattarauga is not very touristy, so don’t miss it including it during your self-drive itinerary!  After all, there are not many unique natural monuments that are this adorable and come along with an unforgettable history / folklore!

Although this isn’t an ideal Iceland wedding location, maybe it interests you for pre or post adventures.  And if you’re thinking about getting married in Iceland, our team would love to hear from you.  Please contact us to get more information on beginning that journey!

© 2022, Photos by Miss Ann (DBA Iceland Wedding Planner / Your Adventure Wedding), All Rights Reserved.

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